15 Dec 2017

Bronze medallist earlier in the year at the Slovenia Para Open, Great Britain’s Jack Hunter-Spivey was the player to cause the biggest upsets as play concluded in the Men’s Singles events at the 2017 United States Para Open in Las Vegas on Thursday 14th December.

Against the odds he captured the Class 5 title; furthermore to achieve the feat, he beat two of the most prominent names of the present day era.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The 22 year old from Liverpool accounted for Germany’s Valentin Baus at the semi-final stage (11-9, 11-9, 11-4, prior to overcoming Norway’s Tommy Urhaug in the final (11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 11-4, 11-6).

Notably Valentin Baus is the reigning World champion, whilst amongst a host of major titles, Tommy Urhaug won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“It feels very, very good! Never won a tournament before, so this is very important to me; two massive wins against Baus in the semi and then Tommy in the final, it’s incredible. It’s been a big goal for me to win a tournament and now I’ve finally won a tournament with some big wins and playing well so what I am doing in training is definitely paying off. I’m feeling great and what a great way to finish the season. I think I played relaxed. The Great Britain squad, we’ve been doing a lot of work on changing my style and different things like that and it paid off so now I wouldn’t change anything,” Jack Hunter-Spivey

In the counterpart semi-final Tommy Urhaug had beaten Sam Roelofs of the Netherlands (11-6, 11-3, 11-5).

One upset and in the Men’s Singles wheelchair events, there was one more surprise winner, Mexico’s Victor Reyes, the no.2 seed, accounted for Korea’s Park Jincheol in the top seed (12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7), to arrest the Class 2 title.

Otherwise, matters proceeded as status advised with the top seed emerging successful on each occasion.

In group organised events, Finland’s Matti Launonen secured the Class 1 title finishing ahead of the host nation’s Michael Godfrey; meanwhile, Germany’s Thomas Schmidberger emerged successful in Class 3 with Korea’s Kim Junggil being crowned the Class 4 champion.

The respective runners up were Jenson Van Emburgh of the United States and Sweden’s Bernt Norgen.

Play concluded in the individual events, eyes now focus on the team competitions.

 Day Two – United States Para Open
Photos: courtesy of Christina Hyunh

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